Can’t wait for my latest novel, Unrequited Love? Here’s a little something to tie you over…
She reaches Mrs. Abbott by noon and just as the letter describes, Mrs. Abbott is on her death bed. Helen helps out Mrs. Abbott tidy up her belongings, tends to her illness, and Mrs. Abbott in turn tells her about her life. Confides in Helen that when she dies, she’s leaving her property to her only daughter who lives in New York with her grandchildren. Helen wasn’t even aware she had a child, and Mrs. Abbott tells her that she hadn’t seen her in ten years and to write to her daughter after her death and to ask to come back to Kansas for the funeral. She went on and on about how her daughter had run off with a rail man fifteen years older than she and never returned, and that her two older sons were killed in the civil war. Within this time, Mrs. Abbott talks about her visions. She asks Helen if she remembers when she was little she told how it was unsafe to play underneath her father’s automobile, and Helen recalled the scar she had on her leg from that accident. Mrs. Abbott also tells her about her other visions she’s had about her and how they’ve all come true. Helen recalls; shakes her head. Then Mrs. Abbott says…
“I had a dream about your wedding day,” Mrs. Abbott quietly voiced.
“Oh?” Helen asked doubtful.
“You don’t believe me now?” She smiled.
Helen smiled back uncertain, “I believe you.”
“It was a winter wedding. This winter.”
Her mouth suddenly dropped. Her intrigue peeked. “This winter?” Could it be? That Dr. Barton wants to rush our wedding?!
“Yes,” Mrs. Abbott said, “and you’re wearing a blue suit.”
“A blue suit? A suit you say? Why I don’t even own a suit, much less a blue one.”
Mrs. Abbott tsked at her frivolity. “It was a nice wedding, beautiful in fact; flowers were popping out from the snow, but your mother and father are not there.”
Helen blinks her eyes. “Not there? Why wouldn’t her parents be there? Dr. Barton is her father’s associate—“
“He’s tall…you’re husband.”
“Tall?!” Helen began to hoot. Dr. Barton was not tall; in fact he was at least two inches shorter than she. Some match, and some tall tale. “Dr. Barton was wearing lifts?”
Mrs. Abbott rolled her eyes, grabbed at her hand. Caressed Helen’s long thin fingers. “Do you want me to continue, deary? Or do you want to persist with your silly talk?”
“Yes ma’am,” Helen shut up.
“He’s wide across the shoulders, wears his boots on Sunday morning.”
“What does this husband look like? Can you see that? Half the men in Dodge wear their boots in church.”
“Black hair…your husband has black hair. Black as coal. A contrast of mixed deep purple and brown, muddy, like that figurine on her dresser.”
Helen turned her head and eyed the porcelain figurine on Mrs. Abbott’s cherry wood dresser. A little man playing a guitar, a miniature ceramic man with bushy black-brown hair. “My mystery husband has black hair?”
“Blue, you say? Blue eyes, wide shoulders, muddy black hair.” This was a confusing story indeed, Helen thought. She didn’t know anyone who fit that description.
Mrs. Abbott took in a long, deep breath; her breaths are limited and short now, and she could barely mouth out her words. “…Blue, a mysterious blue—eyes you need to get close to in order to see their true intentions.”
Still skeptical Helen blurted out, “Mysterious Blue? Why Mrs. Abbott, are you pulling her leg?”
Mrs. Abbott grabbed at her other hand and pulled Helen in closer, jerking her full attention. “Helen—this is important, there isn’t much time.”
All her mirth flew out the window. Mrs. Abbott strained to speak and Helen reacted instantly to the old woman’s urgency. “I’m sorry Mrs. Abbott, but you see, all my life I’ve been waiting for Dr. Barton, all my hopes and dreams knotted to his offer. Dr. Barton wants to finally marry me! I couldn’t be happier, I’m ecstatic, it’s a done deal. He’s a good man, Dr. Barton, the only man I’ve ever loved, and he says I would make a good wife. And I will be a great wife,” she confessed through stifled emotion. “All this time, saving my virtue, holding back my laughter, simmering my warmth, my passion, all that could be his and will be his when he puts that ring on my finger.”
“You won’t be marrying Dr. Barton, missy.” Mrs. Abbott whispered ominously, “This man I see for you. He’s in love with you, Helen,” she said, straining to breathe, “I’ve never seen a man so enamored on his wedding day.”
Helen closed her mouth; it’s suddenly become very dry. She opened it up to say something, when Mrs. Abbott voiced, “Even now Helen, this man’s besotted.”
That she couldn’t believe. Not Dr. Barton? She took in a deep long breath. Helen is more than cynical now; she just couldn’t believe a stranger could already be in love with her? This tall, wide-shouldered boot-wearing man, walking about Dodge City carrying a torch? Her: Helen Virginia McKinney, a plain average nobody from Kansas? What kind of man could hold onto such a secret? Her mind instantly ponders all the men she’s come acquainted with lately. Every man she’s known thus far have all been anxiously waiting to hear that her sister has declined her recent offer of marriage. Could any one of them be in love with her?
Helen gazes down at Mrs. Abbott. Her body had already gone limp, but yet she felt compelled to find out more about this unfamiliar person she was supposed to marry! “Mrs. Abbott…Mrs. Abbott, please don’t leave yet, please I need to know more, do you have a name Mrs. Abbott, his name—do you have a name for me?”
Mrs. Abbott reopened her eyes for the very last time. She gazed up into Helen’s but then is distracted by something mystical that only she could see beyond Helen’s form. “Mr. Coleman…” Mrs. Abbott whispered as Helen watched her eyes become heavy enough to close.
“Mr. Coleman?” Helen repeated, then closed her own eyes as she realized Mrs. Abbott could no longer hear her.
Helen continued to rub her hand within hers and then began to weep recognizing that Mrs. Abbott had passed on. Helen begins to fully weep and laid her head down on Mrs. Abbott’s chest. “Thank you,” Helen softly voiced, “Thank you for being my friend. Giving me advice. You’ve been my strength all these years Mrs. Abbott, I’ll truly miss you.” Helen then lifted up her head, and wiped away the wet tears that were tickling down her cheeks when she grasped she wasn’t alone. Whipping her head around, Gunnar Coleman was filling the doorway.
“Gunnar!” Helen gripped immediately, standing up from her seated position. Helen then comprehends why Mrs. Abbott said his name. Gunnar Coleman had appeared in the doorway just as she was going to tell Helen her husbands’ name. “What are doing here?”
“Your Pa sent me. He was worried about you. There’s been talk of a wind storm.”